Fri | Dec 4, 2020

PM defends proposed COVID ‘passport’ for tourists

Published:Thursday | May 14, 2020 | 12:00 AM
The passport will be a medical certificate that is no older than 76 hours and should declare that the tourist is COVID free.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has defended the proposed COVID ‘passport’ for visitors to Jamaica as the government prepares to reopen the tourist sector.

The passport will be a medical certificate that is no older than 76 hours and should declare that the tourist is COVID free.

Holness who was a guest on CNN today during an interview with Richard Quest said Jamaica wants to have at least a health profile of the visitor.

He said through that process, the visitor would also have an idea of the protocol involved in travelling to Jamaica.

“We would begin to be able to determine the risk profile of the visitor who is coming and the measures that would have to be in place on the Jamaican end to ensure that we can cater to any needs that those risk profiles would show up,” the prime minister said.

A day earlier, Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton was coy when asked about the proposed COVID passport for visitors.

“We’re working on the protocols,” Tufton said during a digital press conference, urging caution until the process was completed.

At the same briefing, chief medical officer Dr Jaquiline Bisasor McKenzie said she was wary about rapid tests for people in transit as they were not reliable.

“If a person is incubating a virus, then they may very well have a negative test and then two days later when they are in country, they develop symptoms,” she said.

Meanwhile, the prime minister has recognised that tourism is Jamaica’s biggest foreign exchange earner accounting for 50 per cent of the yearly haul. 

He told Quest that the Jamaican economy has to be reopened as the health of country was dependent on it. 

“I keep telling Jamaican people that I have two priorities: Priority number one is their health and safety, and priority number two is their livelihood. I don’t see a trade-off between health and economy, you need healthy people to make the economy work, and a working economy gives you healthy people,” he said.

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